G sound in Italian

G is a consonant. How do you pronounce G in Italian? Read on to find out.

How to pronounce G in Italian

G can represent two different sounds depending on the letter that follows it.

G
G sound

G is pronounced with a hard sound (with IPA symbol /g/) when followed by any consonant or the vowels A, O and U.


How to pronounce GH in Italian

The “ghe” and “ghee” sounds, as in Ghetto, are spelled as GHE and GHI.

Examples:

Gatto, ghetto, ghiro, gola, gufo
(/ˈgatto/, /ˈgetto/, /ˈgiro/, /ˈgola/, /ˈgufo/)
Cat, ghetto, dormouse, throat, owl

an asleep owl

How to pronounce GI in Italian

G sounds like the “j” in jeans when followed by the vowels E or I.

Gi + A, E, O and U, respectively GIA, GIE/GE, GIO and GIU, roughly correspond to the sounds in jarjetJohn and juice.

Giallo, gelato, giocare, giusto
(/ˈʤallo/, /ʤeˈlato/, /ʤoˈkare/, /ˈʤusto/)
Yellow, ice cream, to play, correct


Length of the G sound

The G sound in Italian can be single or double.

Italian pronunciation tantrums: what’s up with those double consonants?
These double consonants are called geminates. English uses them only in the written language: a word like tabby, as in tabby cat, is pronounced as if it were actually “taby” and not as “tab-bee”.

Italian geminates, on the other hand, are longer in quality than single consonants, as if they were “doubled”.

Not all Italian consonants can be doubled.

It is double when it’s written as gg. You won’t find a double consonant at the beginning of an Italian word, but always in the middle. For example…

Leggo, fuggire
(/ˈlɛggo/, /fudˈʤire/)
I read, to get away

Listen closely. The “g” sounds in leggo and fuggire (one is hard and the other one is not) are double and have a longer sound. Here are some other examples:

Aggancio, pioggia, maggio
(/agˈganʧo/, /ˈpjɔdʤa/, /ˈmadʤo/)
Hooking, rain, May

little girl with a yellow umbrella

Other Italian words with the G sound

Viaggiare
(/vjadˈʤare/)
To travel

Goccia
(/ˈgotʧa/)
Drop

Gioia
(/ˈʤɔja/)
Joy

Bagaglio
(/baˈgaʎʎo/)
Suitcase

Pigrizia
(/piˈgrittsja/)
Laziness

Figura
(/fiˈgura/)
Figure

lazy girl on the computer

Your turn!

Pronounce each given word.

Easy


Hard


More free Italian resources

You might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

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